CARTERET COUNTY — Over the next several weeks, ending Tuesday, Oct. 29, county officials are collecting public feedback about a grant that could fund structure elevation in areas throughout the county.
The county has submitted an application requesting almost $24 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
County staff posted a notice about their attempt to secure a Community Development Block Grant on the county’s website. It gives details on the county’s effort to raise property, which staff refers to as the Carteret County Elevation Project.
“The finished floors of the residential structures will be elevated above the base flood elevation with free board to reduce the impacts of flooding events,” reads information included in the public notice.
The notice mentions more than a dozen locations that could fall under the project’s criteria. Project maps are available by contacting County Planner Gregory Hartman at 252-728-8545.
Mr. Hartman is overseeing the effort to collect public feedback about the project. Staff first publicly announced their intention to pursue grant funding during a meeting at the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City in January. There, county staff collected preliminary information from residents interested in raising their properties. Many of those who participated in the January event suffered significant damage from Hurricane Florence in September 2018.
“Applicants interested in having their houses elevated with (Hazard Mitigation Grant Program) funding submitted HMGP applications to the Carteret County Planning & Development Department,” Mr. Hartman wrote. “Once the application period closed in February 2019, we included these application with our Letter of Interest that was sent on to the State via the State’s (grant) website.”
The list of areas included in the project application was compiled from information gathered at the January meeting and additional information in the weeks that followed. Currently, county staff is still collecting comments from the public.
Written comments can be submitted by mail to Carteret County, 302 Courthouse Square, Beaufort, NC 28516, Attn: Gregory Hartman. They can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cutoff for comments is Tuesday, Oct. 29.
In an email to the News-Times, Mr. Hartman explained the amount of grant funding FEMA has made available to North Carolina is 5% higher than other states.
“North Carolina is eligible for the 20% (as opposed to 15%) as a result of the State of NC having a FEMA approved Enhanced Hazard Mitigation Plan,” Mr. Hartman wrote.
Likewise, Carteret County also benefitted from having its own hazard mitigation plan.
“In order for counties and municipalities to be eligible for these funds we must have a FEMA approved hazard mitigation plan which we do, the Pamlico Sound Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan,” Mr. Hartman wrote.
County staff said not taking action is an option, but not an ideal one.
“Not taking a mitigation action is an option, but not an acceptable one,” reads the public notice. “The reasoning for rejecting the No Action Alternative is that doing so will not mitigate any risks. The entire project area would remain in danger from future flood events.”
Contact Dean-Paul Stephens at 252-726-7081, ext. 232; email Dean@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @DeanPEStephens.